“Parish and town councils overwhelmingly support single code of conduct”

“Some 90% of parish and town councils surveyed would support a single, mandatory code of conduct, research by the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has revealed.

The NALC survey also found that nearly 70% of local councils would like new powers to impose additional sanctions.

“At the moment sanctions used by local councils include apologies and training. However, around 60% of local councils believe these are neither sufficient to punish breaches of the code of conduct or deter future breaches,” the association said.

Almost 40% of local councils meanwhile stated that their members had not received any training and 20% reported that most members did not understand the rules around declaring interests.

Cllr Sue Baxter, chairman of NALC, said: “NALC does not believe the current ethical standards arrangements are working as well as they could and a review of the regime is something we have long called for. We would like to see stronger sanctions available to local councils, including the power of suspension and disqualification.

“In light of our research, we are also asking the government to invest £2m towards a national training programme that would see all new councillors undertake training on ethical standards and the code of conduct as part of their induction.”

The research comes as the Committee on Standards in Public Life is conducting a review into local government ethical standards. The committee is due to report to the Prime Minister by the end of the year.”